Just five months after their regal comeback with “Twilight,” rising rookie group Oneus has already returned with “LIT” — a new, energetic spin-off on the traditional concept and string instrumental. The chorus is easy to get stuck inside anyone’s head through the use of these sounds, as Oneus belts out their lines in both modern and traditional wear. K-pop hasn’t seen much of this concept since VIXX’s legendary “Shangri-La,” but Oneus continues to be innovative and daring with their discography and ideas. It’s growing harder to box them in to any one particular image or branding, especially as a growing rookie group.
While their debut song “Valkyrie” and subsequent release “Twilight” had darker undertones or aesthetics, “LIT” serves to be the complete opposite. From the get go, this track is meant to encourage the listener to just let go, raise one’s hands, shout out loud, and dance along with the trumpets, drums, and strings along with Oneus. The lyrics and instrumentals are constantly active in keeping the listener engaged to their wild atmosphere — calling for freedom of both the body and mind:
Raise your hands up high
Shout louder than before
Because I’ll mind my own business for tomorrow
Beat the large drum
Swing it in one shot
Clear the road
I can hear the sound of trumpets there, whoo!
This is further achieved with repetitive, catchy onomatopoeia, as well as the frequent allusion to “how great the moon is today.” As with their previous releases, Oneus’ core theme is still centered on all things light; though, this time around, they further incorporate nature, calling for listeners to follow “the wind, the clouds, and the moonlight” to “just move along with the flow.” Although, “LIT” specifically focuses on the moon, as opposed to original light or their previous twilight. To further persuade the audience, Oneus dances in both traditional and modern day attires, which are detailed enough to not be too jarring against the background.
Perhaps this is the underlying reason why their concept has a traditional take in the first place. This may be a wild guess, but amid the busyness of modern day life, a true “getaway” can also include the spectrum of time. Indeed, jumping back into a time where there are no electronics, digital music, and city noise may be an easier context to truly dance their heart out and see a clear, bright moon. Combining these numerous aspects into one, the variety of backgrounds, scenes, attires, and even camera angles serves to make the MV just as visually wild as the song itself. And of course, it makes sure to take care of the aesthetics of both its concepts and the boys themselves.
Though fast, the flitting scenes are simple yet artistic — such as the waves and boat that member Keonhee stands in or the mini royal houses that the group dances in front of. Whether lit with golden or blue light, the members and their dancers stand out in harmony through solid, bold colors. Altogether, every scene is cohesive through the meticulous attention paid to visual detail. Meanwhile, the throne room for the leader Ravn or Seoho’s huge drum makes for a strong visual statement. And, if anything, the imaginary “duel” held in the beginning half of the MV incites a good laugh while watching.
Within these settings, however, the elements of a traditional concept are further ingrained through simple props. Factors such as the paper fans, rope-walking set-up, or the murals visible in the backgrounds are all remnants of Korean history that helps keep the concept alive. The traditional dancers that are also present towards the end is the cherry on top, as a new, refreshing decision for idol groups to collaborate with. Indeed, the industry lately continues to show new ideas — from Dreamcatcher’s collaboration with RPG game ‘King’s Raid’ to the instrumentals used in Sunmi’s “Lalalay,” and the new launching of unit Super M. Perhaps this fall season will signal a number of more creative approaches to delivering music, as every artist attempts to find the perfect balance between tradition and innovation.
Granted, it may be a hit or miss for some. While no artist can satisfy everyone, some may want Oneus to attempt more mainstream styles to receive more general publicity. However, it is also certainly worthwhile to experiment with everything from musicality to concepts, especially at a time where diversity is rather welcome. On that note, it seems Oneus has struck the chord of tradition and innovation to discover their own unique balance and potential. Already having released their second EP Fly With Us in the same year of their debut, it’s worth the wait to see how far Oneus can go as creative artists. What did you think of their latest MV, readers?
(YouTube. Images via RBW Entertainment.)